The Federal Council today adopted a draft negotiating mandate with the EU for the so-called Bilaterals III. The focus is on the so-called package approach: Switzerland-EU relations are to be further developed and stabilised by updating of five existing agreements, two new internal market agreements and based on cooperation in research, education and health. SwissHoldings welcomes this. Customised access to the EU internal market is essential for Switzerland and its companies.

Following the failure of the institutional framework agreement (InstA) in May 2021, the Federal Council developed a new solution proposal, the so-called package approach, to ensure barrier-free access to the EU single market for Switzerland: Instead of regulating institutional issues as a whole in a horizontal agreement, these issues are now to be resolved individually in each agreement on a sector-specific basis. SwissHoldings welcomes this approach. It enables a broad reconciliation of interests and increases the prospects of a successful conclusion to the negotiations.

The guidelines published today are also based on the so-called landing zones, which are set out in a so-called “Common Understanding” as a result of Switzerland’s exploratory talks with the EU. The Federal Council emphasises that the Common Understanding should not be regarded as a “red line” for future negotiations.

The primary objective should be to prevent the erosion of large parts of the existing market integration and cooperation agreements
The EU member states will remain important trading partners of the strongly export-orientated Swiss economy for the foreseeable future. It must remain the overriding objective of Swiss foreign trade policy to prevent the erosion of large parts of the existing market integration and cooperation agreements, that the same time further expanding bilateral relations in the interests of both sides. The Association supports the Federal Council in its endeavours to use the narrow window of opportunity before the European Parliament elections to secure the bilateral path for as long as possible. The task now is to move forward and, following consultation with the Foreign Affairs Committees and the cantons, to begin negotiations with the EU.

For further information:
Dr Gabriel Rumo│ Director │ SwissHoldings │ 079 712 20 20
Denise Laufer │ Member of the Executive Committee│ SwissHoldings │ 076 407 02 48

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